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Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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Screenshot: Urban Institute website

 

Where are preschool-age children?

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is providing answers with its new interactive data map — a great tool for advocates.

“Our interactive tool shows 10 important characteristics of 3- to 5-year-olds. It displays the characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are low income, or whether their parents are immigrants,” the institute says on its website.

“Understanding the characteristics of preschool-age children in our states and communities is an important first step for supporting children’s healthy development and school readiness.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

If we build it, they will come.

That was the attitude in Springfield, Mass., when the city received a federal preschool expansion grant to fund 196 new slots.

Only it turned out that finding children to fill those slots was much harder than expected.

An article in the Atlantic – “Where Are All the Preschoolers?” — tells the story of how tough it can be to find children because there isn’t enough solid data.

“Sally Fuller, the project director of Reading Success by 4th Grade at the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation… estimates half of Springfield’s preschool-aged children are not enrolled in programs, and she admits that number could be off by as much as 10 percentage points—which speaks to a major barrier in preschool-expansion efforts. Communities largely don’t have a handle on the exact size of the population they’re trying to serve,” the article says.

Also featured is our own Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign.  (more…)

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“When you think of America’s western mountain states, what comes to mind? Wide, open spaces? Majestic peaks? Infinite blue skies? Pervasive lack of investment in pre-K?”

“Five states—Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming—still do not provide any state funding towards pre-K. And all but one of the five are in the mountainous west.”

“This region’s failure to act on pre-K may be accounted for by a combination of the following factors:

• Political and cultural values that put an emphasis on libertarian ideals of government

• Low percentage of children in single-parent households

• Low poverty rates

• Low population density

“While none of these factors alone can explain these states’ lack of investment in pre-K, taken together, they may help to describe the unique environment that exists there—one that lends itself to inaction when it comes to pre-K.”

“One Part of the Country Still Doesn’t Invest in Pre-K. Here’s Why.” By David Loewenberg, New America Weekly, October 20, 2016

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Average cost of child care across the states. Screenshot: New America's website

Average cost of child care across the states. Image: New America’s website

What’s the state of child care in today’s America, which is no longer the land of the “Leave it to Beaver” breadwinner-homemaker family?

To find out, the newly released Care Report and the accompanying Care Index look at all 50 states and the district of Columbia to assess three categories: cost, quality, and availability.

The bad news: “no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.”

That’s a problem in today’s America where “in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.”

The report and the index were produced by the think tank New America and by Care.com, the website that links families to care providers, in conjunction with other organizations. (more…)

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 Black public preschool children are suspended from school at high rates: Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white preschool children.

• Black children represent 19% of preschool enrollment, but 47% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions; in comparison, white children represent 41% of preschool enrollment, but 28% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

• Black boys represent 19% of male preschool enrollment, but 45% of male preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

• Black girls represent 20% of female preschool enrollment, but 54% of female preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

 

Most public preschool children suspended are boys: While boys represent 54% of preschool enrollment, they represent 78% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

 

From the “2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC),” a report released by the U.S. Department of Education, June 7, 2016

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“At a time when cities across the country have long waiting lists for every seat in free, quality preschool programs, Detroit has a different problem: hundreds of unused seats.

“Of the 4,895 seats that the federal government funds for Head Start programs in Detroit, nearly 800 are empty because providers have struggled to fill and open classrooms.

“That means that in a city where 94,000 children live in poverty and where the need for licensed childcare reportedly exceeds availability by more than 23,000 kids, many children who could benefit from early education aren’t getting it.”

“But while Detroit’s problems are more severe than elsewhere, the city also has an unusual solution: a remarkable collaboration among local philanthropies to expand early childhood programs that has boosted the number of children enrolled by 20 percent in just the last year.”

From “Money’s not enough: The unconventional way Detroit is filling Head Start classrooms,” by Erin Einhorn, Chalkbeat Detroit, May 26, 2016

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